Sunday, October 17, 2010
Thoughts on Chanters
Let me first start by saying that this is an observation and based on my experience and is no way a dig at anyone or any brands or bands.
I play a wooden chanter in solos. Wouldn't dream of playing plastic. It has a warm tone, good harmonics and a quality of sound that (in my opinion) plastic can't beat. I play more than one chanter by the way. I have compared plastic chanters and haven't changed. The chanters I play are very stable and I do not believe there is any added stability from plastic.
When we first started the City of Adelaide Pipe Band, we purchased plastic chanters. More for cost reasons than anything else. We then changed after a few years due to reed availability more than a chanter issue and really got a very similar sound despite reed and chanter changes. We later purchased wood chanters and the quality of sound and depth of harmonics changed noticeably. The overall character of the sound did not change dramatically. But this was the biggest sound difference we have ever had.
The question is, how much better would some of the worlds best bands be if they changed from plastic to wood chanters? I do not quite understand why some don't. I can't see that it is a cost issue. Maybe it is what they are used to? Is the chanter sound that SLOT or SFU get (as an example) that much better in tonal quality, or does an organ like drone sound (using FMM as an example) offset or enhance the tonal quality of the chanters.
On a good day there is little seperating these bands in terms of sound quality. in fact on any given day any one of the top 6, or even an outsider may have the "sound of the day".
Maybe I am just a wooden chanter snob and hear what I want to hear or am I not alone in my thoughts?
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